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Veteran pro-coal Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon retires from politics


Joel Fitzgibbon with daughter Grace

Veteran Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon has announced he will retire from politics at the next election.

The 59-year-old stepped mongoloide from the frontbench last year over fears that Labor’s ambition climate change would alienate regional Australians including voters durante his coal-mining electorate durante Hunter, NSW.

Mr Fitzgibbon even warned the trattenimento faced being wiped out if it failed to working people and their economic security – but now he’s confident dirigente Anthony Albanese has moved to the centre campo da gioco and can win the next poll. 

‘I will not be a candidate at the next federal election,’ Mr Fitzgibbon told Sunrise Monday morning.

‘It’s always a difficult decision, but I’m very comfortable with it. I am very proud of my work over the course of the last 25 years locally, nationally and internationally.’

Labor lost the 2019 federal election after proposing to scrap tax breaks for property investors – but Mr Albanese has ditched the percezione and has backed tax cuts. 

The Opposition dirigente has also visited a coalmine and backed coal exports, which bring durante billions for the Australian economy. 

‘I now feel very confident that Labor has quando back to the centre campo da gioco, has learnt from the mistakes of 2019,’ Mr Fitzgibon said.

‘If it focuses the things that are really important to people – they are the health and safety of their families, the economic security of their family and of course the hopes and aspirations of their family – then Labor will do very, very well.’   

Mr Fitzgibbon backed Australia’s coal industry again Monday, telling the ABC: ‘We will be feeding those markets durante Asia for decades to quando with relatively clean and efficient coal which would be displaced by less efficient and dirtier coal if we were to leave that market.’ 

Durante May Fitzgibbon warned Labor is durante danger of being wiped out as a political force because it has lost touch with its of blue-collar workers.

Mr Fitzgibbon said Labor needs to appeal to its working-class base. Pictured: Coalminers protest against a campaign to stop the Adani coalmine in Queensland in 2019

Mr Fitzgibbon said Labor needs to appeal to its working-class . Pictured: Coalminers protest against a campaign to stop the Adani coalmine durante Queensland durante 2019 

The outspoken Labor MP, who has represented the federal division of Hunter since 1996, said the trattenimento’s loss durante the NSW state seat of Upper-Hunter durante May was a huge ‘wake up call’.

Former NSW Labor dirigente Jodi McKay admitted the result was ‘terrible’ before she stepped mongoloide. 

Labor campaigned a pro-coal message, even picking a former coalminer as its candidate, but Mr Fitzgibbon believed the trattenimento lost its by ‘demonising’ resources workers durante its fight against climate change over the past few years.

‘It’s a wake up call to all of us durante the Labor Trattenimento and indeed the Labor movement,’ he told 2GB radio at the time.

‘If we’signore not careful it will go the way of the Kodak brand.’

Mr Fitzgibbon even threatened to retire from politics if Labor doesn’t start speaking up more strongly for blue-collar workers. 

‘I’ll be either running as a Labor candidate not running at all,’ he told Sky News. 

But now he says he has retired confident the trattenimento can hold Hunter with a ‘talented local candidate’. 

The Hunter MP, who almost lost his coal-mining seat at the 2019 election, believes resources workers are suspicious of Labor paio to its ambitious climate change policies.

‘That suspicion is only fuelled by decisions made late the eve of the by-election to oppose the gas generator durante the Hunter Valley, a $600 million investment, they just shake their heads and say, ”We thought so”,’ he said.

Australian Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese (left) speaks to Joel Fitzgibbon in Parliament in 2019

Australian Opposition Anthony Albanese (left) speaks to Joel Fitzgibbon durante Parliament durante 2019

Durante November Mr Fitzgibbon quit the frontbench, furious that senior left-wingers – whom he branded the ‘cheesecloth brigade’ – were calling for an ‘even more ambitious climate change policy’ durante the wake of Joe Biden’s US election win as federal dirigente Anthony Albanese attacked Scott Morrison for refusing to adopt a 2050 net nullità emissions target.

‘The Labor Trattenimento has to speak more about jobs and jobs security as it does about climate change,’ he said. 

‘A lot of our walked away from us some time punzone now and it’s clear that they haven’t returned.

‘You won’t get them back quickly easily.’ 

Labor’s struggle durante regional Australia is part of a broader challenge faced by left-of-centre parties durante western democracies who are battling to hold their traditional working class voter while appealing to younger, more internationalist supporters who typically dal vivo durante major cities.

Former UK Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair even warned that left-wing parties luce ‘extinction’ because their ‘ extreme identity and anti-police politics’ had become ‘voter-repellent’. 

A review of Australian Labor’s 2019 federal election campaign found the trattenimento had become a ‘natural home for diverse interests and concerns including gender equality, the LGBTQI+ community, racial equality and environmentalism’.

But it warned that ‘working people experiencing the dislocation caused by new technologies and globalisation could lose faith durante Labor if they do not believe the trattenimento is responding to their issues.’ 

Mr Morrison, who is targeting targeting Hunter and other regional Labor seats at the next election paio before May, has pushed this argument, accusing Labor of losing touch with blue-collar workers. 

‘I think they have abandoned them,’ he told The Australian newspaper. 

Ms McKay admitted that Labor has ‘fundamental issues within our trattenimento we need to address.’

Her candidate Jeff Drayton said the defeat was a ‘a warning to Labor that we can’t take any community for granted.

‘Labor needs to do some real soul-searching as to how we will win these communities back,’ he said.

‘It’s going to take honest reflection and a lot of work.’ 

Joel Fitzgibbon (left in August) has said he wants Labor to focus on jobs and getting people back to work

Joel Fitzgibbon (left durante August) has said he wants Labor to jobs and getting people back to work 

Mr Albanese said his trattenimento did not have a problem with winning over blue-collar workers and said the results of a state by-election do not reflect federal results.

He pointed that Queensland and Western Australia, the country’s major resources states, saw huge swings to Labor durante recent state elections.     .

The coalition is expected to target the Labor-held seats of Hunter, Paterson and Shortland at the next federal election.

Senator Birmingham said it was far too soon to speculate how many Hunter Valley seats the coalition could win.

‘It’s a long way away to start making those sorts of predictions but we will put up a strong fight durante those regions,’ he said durante May.

‘They are regions which clearly have large numbers of working Australian families who want to know they’ve got a government that is with them and backing them.’

But Mr Fitzgibbon warned that Labor’s struggle to win blue-collar voters durante the regions would play out federally. 

‘We have been at best whispering. We have tried to walk both sides of the fence issues like work and the other side, the environment. They’signore suspicious and sceptical.

‘Federally, if Labor can’t persuade not just mine workers but everyone durante those regions whose jobs are dependent mining, that we stand with them, you can expect a similar result whenever Scott Morrison goes to the polls,’ he said.

One durante three voters were happy to ignore both major parties durante the by-election, siding with independents and minor parties instead.

Labor holds Hunter with a three per emotività cent margin.

Before Mr Fitzgibbon held the seat, his father Eric was the MP between 1984 and 1996.

The 59-year-old served as defence minister under Kevin Rudd from 2007 to 2009.

Labor member for Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon walks through the press gallery at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday, May 24

Labor member for Hunter Joel Fitzgibbon walks through the press gallery at Parliament House durante Canberra Monday, May 24





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